With March of 2003, my current term as "Vice President of Lunches" draws to a close . (The position started in 1981 with Larry Fichtner as Second Vice President. The name changed to Director of Educational Services in 2001.) Annual Reports usually included lists of Luncheon Speakers, and the recipient of the Best Paper Award. In preparing for the Annual General Report, several details in the historical trends in luncheon attendance, ticket prices and revenues are worthy of noting for future planning.
For 2003 there will be two awards presented at the AGM, one for Best Paper - Luncheons, and a separate award for Best Paper - Recorder. They recognise the two types of contributions to technical excellence. Additionally, the AGM will also list the recipients of the Awards from the CSEG National Convention.
The 2003 Luncheon venue was Mondays at the Telus Convention Centre, to take advantage of the most cost effective room rate. The room rates were $1250 for MacLeod CD, $1800 for MacLeod BCD, and $2250 for the North Building Exhibit Hall E. Initially, the expected attendance of over 550 required booking the larger BCD combination. However, current average attendance (see charts) is under 500 and can use MacLeod BC The 2004 dates were booked by June 2003, allowing the CSEG Luncheon dates to be printed in the 2004 issue of the CSPG calendar, which was distributed with the November Recorder Extra mailing costs were covered by CSEG, and the extra printing costs were covered by APEGGA. Some Tuesdays were booked in the fall of 2004. All 2004 dates are posted on the CSEG website, with speakers selected to June of 2004.
Ticket prices were raised in January 2003 from $25 (including GST) to $25 plus GST (26.75). To meet increasing meal costs, the tickets are $30 including GST starting in February 2004. The two new matching CSEG projectors were purchased and in use from February 2003, which facilitates consistent set-up and operation by the Centre staff. Additionally, the May, June, November and December luncheons were recorded and subsequently hosted as webcasts on the CSEG website. The presentations are viewable if the required media software is installed on the viewer's PC.
Attendance trends at luncheons deserved historical research. The following graphs show indications from the few comments or numbers reported in back issues of the Recorder. The largest ever attendance was November 1985, when the 1200 tickets ordered for a talk by Peter Vail were capped at 960 - maximum capacity available at the Convention Centre (a move from the usual Westin venue to meet that demand). In 2003 the largest monthly ticket request was 584 tickets for the January 2003 talk by Sam Gray and James Sun. Coincidently the CSPG January Luncheon had over 800 (one of their largest in five years, and 876 in June 2003). Table 1 shows the monthly attendance for 1994 and 1995, 1989 and 1990, and a portion of 2002, and 2003. Table 2 shows the cumulative yearly attendance for the same years. Table 3 shows some of the reported net luncheon revenue. There is a consistent trend in slight reduction in attendance, which recently may be partly attributable to the move from the Westin venue to the less-central location at the Telus Convention Centre. The ticket price was $11 in 1989, $12 in1990, $18 in 1997, and rose to $25 in 2001, $26.75 in 2003, and $30 in 2004 (including GST) - which effectively matches CSPG prices for 2004. The ticket prices have increased, while generally planning to maintain close to break-even net revenue.
Evaluation and feedback forms have been collected at each luncheon. Generally, most indicate they find out about the luncheon through the monthly "in-house" contact through email, or the Recorder, and are attracted by the Speaker or Topic, or habit.
Please note, much of the history of the CSEG is now on the CSEG website, under "Achievements" - from Traces Through Time by David Finch, Copyright 1985 by the CSEG. The luncheon attendance and revenues are more obscure, and required extracting the information from past issues of the Recorder.